Chess Opening Theory/1. d4/1...c5

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Old Benoni Defence
a b c d e f g h
8 a8 b8 c8 d8 e8 f8 g8 h8 8
7 a7 b7 c7 d7 e7 f7 g7 h7 7
6 a6 b6 c6 d6 e6 f6 g6 h6 6
5 a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 f5 g5 h5 5
4 a4 b4 c4 d4 e4 f4 g4 h4 4
3 a3 b3 c3 d3 e3 f3 g3 h3 3
2 a2 b2 c2 d2 e2 f2 g2 h2 2
1 a1 b1 c1 d1 e1 f1 g1 h1 1
a b c d e f g h
Position in Forsyth-Edwards Notation(FEN)


Moves: 1.d4 c5
ECO code: A43-A44
Parent: Queen's Pawn Opening

Old Benoni Defence[edit]


With 1..c5 Black takes a sideways swipe at the central d-pawn. If White answers 1...c5 with 2. d5 the main lines of the Benoni Defence are reached. If white accepts the gambit with 2.dxc5 then sooner or later black develops his king's bishop by taking the c5 pawn, or with Qa5+ (forking the king and pawn), trading a central pawn for a bishop pawn. This line does not seem to favor Black because of the early exposure of the queen to attack by White's minor pieces. Case in point from a game played in 1982, which contains the above ideas with colors reversed. 1.g3 e5; 2.Bg2 d5; 3.c4. Black proceeded with Nf6, which led to a slight plus for White after 4.cxd5 Nxd5; 5.Nc3 Nxc3; 6.bxc3. Black eventually lost, succumbing to the mass of White center pawns. One question is how white could have handled 3..cxd4 in the above game, since the bishop on g2 would have left no option but to play Qa4+ or Na3 to attempt to recover the pawn on c4. Recovering this pawn is important because it restricts White's ability to play d4 later. Another move possible by Black in the above game is 3...d4, which leads to a Benoni with colors reversed. White has a move in hand, of course, which may be why Black avoided this line.

Theory table[edit]

For explanation of theory tables see theory table and for notation see algebraic notation.

1. d4 c5

2 3 4 5 6
1 d5
2 e3
3 dxc5

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  • Nunn's Chess Openings. 1999. John Nunn (Editor), Graham Burgess, John Emms, Joe Gallagher. ISBN 1-8574-4221-0.
  • Modern Chess Openings: MCO-14. 1999. Nick de Firmian, Walter Korn. ISBN 0-8129-3084-3.
  • Batsford Chess Openings 2 (1989, 1994). Garry Kasparov, Raymond Keene. ISBN 0-8050-3409-9.